Do you ever feel like your head is so full of ideas that you don’t know what to do next? Or perhaps your brain is so overstuffed with things to do that you have a great idea and then immediately forget what it was?
David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done – The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, is fond of saying, “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.”
Therefore, you need to get it out of your head and into something that will hold it for you.
Here are two different ways to save your ideas before they disappear along with a suggestion on how to consolidate them.
- Use your voice. This is the quickest and easiest way to capture a thought. Back in the day, some executives used a portable tape recorder to speak their ideas out loud while others enlisted the support of their assistant.
Today, our digital tools simplify this process. If you tell Siri or Google Assistant to “Take a note,” it will save whatever you want it to. You can find your notes later by saying, “Show me my notes.” I’ve found this to be terrifically helpful when I am driving.
If you have longer ideas, you can use any of the following:
- A voice memo app on your phone
- Record a video of yourself speaking
- Use the “Dictate” feature in Word or the “Voice Typing” tool in Google Docs
- Leverage dedicated software such as Dragon from Nuance.com
- Write it down. Put pen to paper (or fingers to phone) to preserve your idea. My Galaxy Note20 has a stylus and built-in memo app that I use all the time but multiple low-tech options exist.
Here are some ideas for quick notes:
- Use sticky notes or index cards
- Keep a notebook or journal handy (I keep a journal open at all times on the right-hand side of my desk)
- Jot down ideas on a whiteboard
- Do your best ideas come to you in the shower? Buy some AquaNotes
For fuller ideas or brainstorming, I’ve found that a blank sheet of paper and a good pen really helps to think things through.
Sometimes just moving it out of your head will give you enough clarity to move forward to your next step. However, make sure to set aside time on a regular basis and decide how best to turn those ideas into specific actions. Otherwise, they too can become lost.
Our brains are amazing machines capable of generating more than 6,000 thoughts per day. Don’t let your best thoughts disappear because you’re trying to keep them all in your head!